Using Sketchnoting for Learning | Gone is the misnomer that if you are doodling in class, you are not processing information or listening to what’s being presented. In fact, sketchnoting or sketching notes and pictures while listening to a speaker or reading a text, is one strategy recommended by educators at all grade levels. The process is highly individualized, and students can choose to sketchnote in a notebook or digitally on a tablet or phone with a stylus and tons of free or low cost apps.
Educational research shows that when you process something in more than one way (orally, auditory, and visually, you’ll have a better chance of retaining the information.
That’s why sketchnoting is so powerful for adolescents (who often like to doodle while they read or listen anyway). Teach them how to make their drawings serve a purpose to help them organize and remember information. Here are some ways to use sketchnoting for learning!
Using Sketchnoting for Learning Science
Use sketchnoting to draw and document the scientific process or steps during an experiment. Being able to view each step of an example as a visual representation through the budding scientist’s own design gives them a chance to deepen their understanding of the objectives of the lesson and compare their findings with one another.
Here are a few examples of lessons using sketchnoting and science experiments and notes.
-Here is an experiment designed for upper elementary or middle school students sketching changes in matter using root beer floats.
-Sketch systems of the body and their functions like med student Sarah Clifford.
-Create a nature journal and sketch the world around you! This site is targeted at adults but is appropriate for all ages.
Using Sketchnoting for Learning Language Arts
Possibilities are endless with reading and writing and sketchnoting. Many students love to sketch out ideas as they read novels or nonfiction text. Others find taking notes over new concepts of literary elements and grammar rules in class to be helpful. Sketchnoting can also be a premiere tool in the writing process. Here are a few examples of sketchnoting within the Language Arts curriculum.
-Use story pyramids to sketch out plot points in each chapter of a novel. Here are some examples from high-interest middle school favorites Tuck Everlasting and Devil’s Arithmetic from a sixth grade teacher on “Little Piece of Tape”.
Using Sketchnoting for Learning Math
-Draw visual representations for equations with sketchnoting. Instead of just having students show work with numbers, have students sketch objects or symbols to show the equation at work. These examples are often shown in textbooks, so why not have students put their own real life examples in pictures?
-Use doodles to study shapes and other mathematical concepts. Here’s a cool sketchnoting video series from ViHart with concepts ranging from infinite trees to perfect circles. The concepts are mostly for high school-level math, but you can use the videos for inspiration at all levels.
There are so many great resources on doodling in education, visual notes, or sketchnoting. For sketching across the curriculum, here are a few more links to free resources from sketchnoting gurus to get you started.
What are you waiting for? Try out this notetaking strategy proven to help memory and organization for students!
Also published on Medium.